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Sun, 10 Dec 2023
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Earth Changes


Dolphins Use Complex Coordination During Predation

Spinner dolphins have long been known for their teamwork in capturing prey but a new study using high-tech acoustics has found that their synchronization is even more complex than scientists realized and likely evolved as a strategy to maximize their energy intake.
Spinner dolphins
© Oregon State University
Spinner dolphins.

The study, by scientists at Oregon State University and the University of Hawaii, found that dolphins engage in a highly choreographed night-time "dance" to enclose their prey, and then dart into the circle of confused fish in organized pairs to feed for about 15 seconds, before backing out and letting the next pairs in line take their turn.

Results of the study were published this week in the journal, Acoustical Society of America.

"Synchronized swimmers have nothing on spinner dolphins," said Kelly Benoit-Bird, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. "The degree of synchrony they display when feeding is incredible - especially considering that they're doing it at night, several meters below the surface where they can't see their prey or each other."

Bizarro Earth

5.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Afghanistan

Kabul -- A strong earthquake of magnitude 5.6 struck northeastern Afghanistan on Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said on its website the quake's epicentre was at a depth of 208 km (130 miles).

The quake occurred at about 6 am local time and was also felt in the capital, Kabul, some 260 km (160 miles) from the epicentre lying to the south of the city of Faizabad of northeastern Badakhshan province.

Bizarro Earth

US: 5.1 and 4.1 Magnitude Earthquakes hit Northern California

Two earthquakes shook northern California early on Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter of the first quake, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, was located 19 miles west of Petrolia, California. And the second quake, measuring 4.1, hit 11 miles west southwest of Fort Ross, California, according to the U.S.G.S. National Earthquake Center.

Bizarro Earth

About 100 dead or missing after floods in Yemen

About 100 people are dead or missing in Yemen after severe flooding caused by torrential rain affected large areas of the country in the past few days, a government official said on Sunday.

Television pictures showed survivors signalling to rescue helicopters in the provinces of Hadramout and Mahra which suffered 30 hours of heavy rain.

"About 7,000 people have been made homeless and there are about 100 dead or missing. We are still trying to gather more exact figures but communications with some of the affected areas have been cut off," the Yemeni official told Reuters.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh called on Sunday for parliament to approve 20 billion rials ($100 million) in emergency funding for rescue operations and to help rebuild areas affected by the most serious flooding in decades.


Spider eats bird

spider eats bird
© Les Martin
A huge spider devours a bird in Atherton, near Cairns.
These amazing images of a mammoth spider devouring a bird were taken in the backyard of an Atherton property, west of Cairns.

Amateur photographer and bird enthusiast Les Martin took the photos in his back yard last week and while he was amazed at the sight, he never imagined his pictures would be such a hit.

"I didn't realise there'd be so much excitement," he said yesterday.


Birth Of White Rhino After Artificial Insemination With Frozen Sperm

baby rhino
© Bela Szandelszky
The rhino baby and his mother in the Budapest Zoo
A world-first: researchers announce the birth of a white rhino after artificial insemination with frozen sperm. The rhino baby, a male, was born at 4:57am in the Budapest Zoo on the 22nd of October 2008. In June 2007, scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin artificially inseminated his mother, the rhino cow Lulu, with frozen bull semen.


Lightning strikes only once - but kills 52 cows

Lightningstruck cows
© Associated Press/San Jose Police Department
In this picture released by the police department of San Jose, some of the 52 cows that were killed by lightning lie along a fence on a ranch in Valdez Chico village near San Jose, Uruguay, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008. The cows were killed when lightning hit the wire fence during a fierce storm, according to police.
Montevideo, Uruguay - Lightning struck only once - but 52 cows are dead at an Uruguayan ranch. The newspaper El Pais reports that the cows had pressed against a wire fence during a storm when the lightning bolt struck in the northern state of San Jose.

A photograph released by the San Jose Police Department shows the black and brown cows lying dead in a long row.


Lightning bolt barrage belts Brisbane

Storm Clouds
© Trent Field
Storm clouds just off the Gold Coast.
Power was cut to more than 15,000 homes and hailstones the size of golf balls fell during a severe thunderstorm over South-East Queensland last night.

The Bureau of Meteorology said wind gusts of 102 kilometres an hour were recorded at Amberley, west of Brisbane, at 4.50pm, while Brisbane Airport recorded up to 53 kilometres an hour, and the city 33 kilometres an hour.

Hailstones the size of golf balls were reported at North Ipswich and west of the city at Boonah and smaller hail stones also fell over Enoggera and Newmarket in Brisbane's north.

Cloud Lightning

Blackouts hit Johannesburg

A lightning strike on a transmission tower left swathes of Johannesburg without power this afternoon, City Power said.

"It is very widespread," said spokesman Louis Pieterse of the outage which stretches from at least Rosebank in the north east to Mondeor in the south.

Court cases at the Johannesburg High Court, including judgment in the "Jeppestown massacre" case, were among the daily affairs put on hold as technicians tried to repair the damage and restore power.

Better Earth

Researchers: 7 orcas missing from Puget Sound

Seattle - Seven Puget Sound killer whales are missing and presumed dead in what could be the biggest decline among the sound's orcas in nearly a decade, say scientists who carefully track the endangered animals.

"This is a disaster," Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist at the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, said Friday. "The population drop is worse than the stock market."

While the official census won't be completed until December, the total number of live "southern resident" orcas now stands at 83.